Thursday, May 16, 2013

'Blanco County' coming to USA network?

Ben Rehder                                   Rob Thomas
Austin novelist Ben Rehder's series of mysteries is in development as a TV series called Blanco County at the USA Network. And that's not the end of the Texas connection--Rob Thomas of Veronica Mars fame has been hired as the showrunner/writer and is executive producer along with Tom Welling (Smallville's Clark Kent).

Thomas, who went to high school in San Marcos and taught high school journalism in Austin, moved back to the Capital City a few years ago. Rehder says the two didn't meet in person until after Thomas had signed on to the project.  A pilot has already been penned. Now it's up to USA to give the series a thumbs up or down.

Blanco County is based on Rehder's six comic novels (he cites Carl Hiassen as his inspiration)  and "follows the story of John Marlin, a worldly pro baseball player who would rather spend his down time traveling the world than return to his small Texas hometown. After the death of his father, Marlin returns home to find a lot has changed since he left. The place is now booming with rich ranchers and tourists and there’s an uneasy alliance between the locals and the nouveau rich. Believing the local cops to be inept, Marlin runs for sheriff and surprisingly wins. A man who spent his entire life running away from his roots must now adapt to a new way of life." In the novels, Marlin is instead a game warden.

Will the show shoot in Central Texas if picked up to series?

"One big reason Rob was interested is because of the possibility of shooting here," Rehder says. "I don't know what the odds are, but I know that's what Rob would prefer."

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